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Coping without Copenhagen

As internationals pack their bags for home, some anticipate a rough transition: They are already taking measures to counter the feelings of depression and loss of identity. In other words, culture shock in reverse

Reverse culture shock awaits many students leaving Copenhagen this week. Symptoms upon arrival home include feelings of emptiness, boredom, loneliness and constantly saying »undskyld« instead of sorry – especially when friends grow tired of hearing stories from how magical Denmark was.

Read our article on reverse culture shock here.

Yet as difficult as it will be to say goodbye, internationals are preparing to adapt to a changed home and identity by reviving that old life they left behind, one drink at a time.

»I really feel like my time here is incomplete,« says Australian physics and philosophy student Sam Bladwell, who is packing his bags to leave next week. »I have this really strong desire to stay, so it’s going to be a real challenge to say goodbye.«

Leaving, kicking and screaming

Other students agree that the time in Copenhagen went by too fast, and getting back home will be a shot of reality.

»I fear that my independence is going to be taken away from me, because I have to move back in with my parents,« says Austrian sociology student Marion Andrlik.

»At first I didn’t want to come here, but now I don’t want to leave!«

See an exchange student’s blog on leaving Copenhagen here.

Drink away the sorrows

The students have a plan, though. While they expect to experience all the depressing side effects of reverse culture shock, they do know of one remedy that will help: Alcohol. Among the many things internationals learned abroad, some expect that partying will aid them most in their time of need.

»Beer always makes things better,« says Bladwell, who plans on visiting Lord Nelson’s pub in Sydney – a favourite of his. »I haven’t seen the majority of my friends in about six months too, so I think it’ll help to see them.«

He says another remedy will surely be his schoolwork, which will start up quickly upon his return. Immersing himself in books will at least distract him from the feelings of Copenhagen-sickness, he says.

See article Return ticket makes leaving easier here.

Punch drunk love

Andrlik agrees that a healthy balance of schoolwork and parties will aid in her return home. She also has plans to drink punch with all of her closest friends just one day after she returns.

»In Austria, punch is like the Danish equivalent of Glögg, so in a way I’m sort of getting back into Austrian culture again,« she says.

She remembers the advice of a friend of hers: »She said I don’t have to give up all these things I had up here, but I should take these experiences and be glad to have had them. I’ll do my best to accept that that was just part of my life and it was really great.«

See article Copenhagen didn’t live up to fairy tale here.

lns@adm.ku.dk

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